The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on January 27 an indictment charging an associate professor at West Texas A&M with smuggling goods into the United States and two violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Dr. Richard Kazmaier, 54, was charged with the violations after allegedly importing protected wildlife items into the country without declaring them or obtaining the necessary permits. The maximum penalty for felony smuggling is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. According to the Department of Justice, the two Endangered Species Act charges are misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement in Redmond, Washington, as part of Operation Global Reach. Wildlife trafficking from Indonesia to the United States was the focus of the operation. The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Anna Bell of the Northern District of Texas and Trial Attorney Ryan Connors of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resource Division’s Environmental Crimes Section.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates trade in endangered or threatened species through permit requirements. The United States and 183 other countries signed the CITES treaty, the DOJ says.

Dr. Kazmaier is accused of importing wildlife items from around the world into the United States without declaring them between March 2017 and February 2020, according to the indictment. Skulls, skeletons, and taxidermy mounts were among the items listed by the DOJ.

Kazmaier is also accused of importing wildlife from 14 protected species, including the Eurasian otter, lynx, caracal, vervet monkey, greater naked-tailed armadillo, and king bird-of-paradise, without obtaining permits, according to the DOJ press release.